Yesterday this blog noted that the BBC's Election 2010 website takes for granted that religion is a political factor in Northern Ireland. Fair enough – this is something that is taken for granted by everyone in Northern Ireland – but it runs entirely counter to the polite pretence that it is not so. And this is a pretence that the 'liberal media', including the BBC, have been promoting for years.
But a closer look at the BBC's Election 2010 website reveals that its admission of the politico-religious fault line in Northern Ireland may not have been a deliberate change of policy – it may simply be because whoever is responsible for the site is not very clever.
Take, for example, the candidates that the site lists for each constituency;
In South Down the list (of two) includes Eddie McGrady, despite the fact that he has publicly announced that he will not re-stand – a fact that is, incidentally, reported on a different BBC site!
In West Tyrone the BBC's Election 2010 website ignores the formal announcement by UCUNF that Ross Hussey will stand there, and lists only Pat Doherty.
Fermanagh and South Tyrone lists Tom Elliott as a candidate, but not Arlene Foster, despite both having been announced by their parties.
And on it goes in a similar vein – no Paisley in North Antrim, no Overend in Mid Ulster …
If the BBC wants to be seen as a reliable reference tool for this election, it needs to up its game.